12.13.14

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News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli

Benoît Battistelli with one of his bosses from the multinational corporations

Summary: The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not ‘loyal’ to the régime

Benoît Battistelli’s reign of terror is coming to an end. He has become a laughing stock inside the organisation he proclaims to be managing. He is being vastly outnumbered by his opposition, so claiming that his opposition is a small dissenting voice or “muck raking” won’t work. People no longer need to fear him, especially if they remain united against him (he cannot lay off or euphemistically “suspend” half of his staff).

According to various reports, like this one from Switzerland (not part of the European Union but definitely EPO-focused), says that both patent scope (or quality) and independence are under fire. The EPO is not a corporation and managing/aligning it against the interests of European people should not be tolerated. Not even EPO staff – i.e. potential short-term benefactors in case of patent maximalism (in the long term it discredits the system and repels clients) – is willing to tolerate that. IP Watch says: “While some European Patent Office (EPO) employees strike on 10 December, many are waiting to see what the Administrative Council (AC), the office’s supervisory body, will do about the growing tension between EPO President Benoît Battistelli and his staff.

“The AC, composed of representatives from EPO member states, has been confronted with claims that patent examiners will no longer be able to ensure patent quality standards if Battistelli’s proposed “New Career System” (NCS) is approved.”

Another European site covered recent events involving the Administrative Council and according to Merpel from IP Kat, Battistelli has come under fire from yet more judges, namely:

  1. Sweden: Per Carlson, President of the Market Court
  2. Switzerland: Katherine Klett, Swiss Federal Supreme Court
  3. Cyprus: Stelios Nathaniel, Judge Supreme Court of Cyprus
  4. Denmark: Henrik Rothe, Chief Justice the Maritime & Commercial High Court
  5. Romania: Octvia Spineanu-Matei, High Court of Cassation and Justice
  6. Finland: Ari Wiren, Judge

Some “muck raking”, eh? That’s what Battistelli might wish to label it, albeit this would backfire on him. Some also serve as external members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal, so basically these are in some sense colleagues not ‘loyal’ to the authoritarian and arrogant Battistelli.

There is already political action and pressure from the press against Battistelli.

“There is already political action and pressure from the press against Battistelli.”Jean-Yves Leconte, of France, was recently mentioned here for his actions on this matter. Here is more from him. A new press article from Les Echos writes about what goes on at the patent office and covers the action taken by judges after an unprecedented suspension by of Battistelli. This shows that the biggest stakeholders at EPO no longer want Battistelli. He is probably on his way out (sooner or later).

Not only the French press writes about this (because of Battistelli’s French nationality). The German press too covers it. The Frankfurter Rundschau reports about the revolt against Battistelli (at many levels) and other German media provides coverage of the protests (in German). Watch a patent maximalists’ site framing the problem as a transparency issue. Complete nonsense from patent lawyers. It’s a straw man, just like Battistelli’s (he pretends that “transparency” or lack of understanding is the problem).

German lobbyist Florian Müller published a decent analysis and roundup of the recent developments following the suspension of a judge by Battistelli’s régime:

On its website, the European Patent Office has published a “communiqué” concerning this week’s meeting of the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organisation (the international body running the EPO) that contains a sybilline sentence on the suspension of an EPO-internal judge (member of a board of appeal) for disciplinary reasons. The suspension was widely criticized, including but not limited to a letter by (internal) members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) to the AC, a letter by two external EBA members, Lord Justice Floyd and high-ranking Dutch court official Robert van Peursem, which was subsequently endorsed by leading patent judges from six other countries, and an email sent by a German patent litigator to his country’s AC member.

[...]

If this sentence explicitly mentioned a reprimand of President Battistelli for compromising judicial independence, its meaning and its significance would be clear. However, “an incident unique in the history of the EPO” is vague enough that this could also mean unanimous backing of the executive’s action and concern over whatever the suspended judge may have done. That interpretation is less likely to be correct than disagreement with the way the executive leadership handled the matter, but it can’t be ruled out completely in light of the unanimous endorsement of the suspension.

[...]

Coverage of this scandal in the general press will also play a key role. I heard that a Munich area center-right newspaper, Münchner Merkur, published an article in yesterday’s print edition, entitled “Die letzte Diktatur auf deutschem Boden” (“the sole remaining dictatorship on German soil”). Things can’t stay that way forever. The AC’s “communiqué” should be interpreted by the IP sector and by innovative companies depending on high-quality patents (I heard from an unofficial source that a compensation scheme with potentially disastrous implications for European patent quality was approved yesterday) as an invitation to push even harder for serious reform. It shows that all these recent efforts, by EPO staff and by others, didn’t go unnoticed, but they will one day have been in vain unless there’s even more pressure now.

The EPO is now in ‘damage control’ mode. It has published two updates in one day (yesterday) after almost 2 months of silence. Here is the first update:

Communique on decisions taken by the Administrative Council at its 142nd meeting concerning senior employees and appointments and reappointments to the Boards of Appeal

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 142nd meeting in Munich on 10 and 11 December 2014 under the chairmanship of Jesper KONGSTAD (DK).

The Council addressed a number of points concerning senior employees and the Boards of Appeal. Specifically, the Council addressed disciplinary arrangements applicable to senior employees appointed by the Council under Article 11 (1)(2)(3) EPC and, noting its obligations under Article 11(4) EPC, agreed to set up a Council Disciplinary Committee.

The Council took this opportunity to reiterate its full endorsement of and support for the principle of independence of the members of the Boards of Appeal, as specifically set out in Article 23 EPC and generally embodied in internationally recognised principles of judicial independence.

The Council also made four re-appointments of members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and Chairmen and legally qualified members of the of Boards of Appeal pursuant to Art 11(3) EPC, as well as a total of twelve appointments and re-appointments of legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal pursuant to Art 11(5) EPC.

On a proposal from the President of the Office, the Council addressed and carefully considered a particular issue concerning alleged misconduct by a Council appointee under Article 11 (3) EPC. As a precautionary and conservative measure without anticipating any further steps which may ensue, the Council unanimously decided to suspend the person concerned from active duty on full salary until 31 March 2015. The Council requested the investigation to be completed as soon as possible, in order to allow it to decide on the next steps. The Council expressed its concern at an incident unique in the history of EPO.

Details of the appointments and reappointments as well as of other decisions taken by the Council at this meeting will be published separately.

Council Secretariat

Kongstad exists to protect Battistelli and his cronies, so he too is part of the problem, not the solution. Here is a later update about Kongstad’s flawed ‘regulation’/administration:

142nd meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 10 and 11 December 2014)

The Administrative Council held its 142nd meeting in Munich on 10 and 11 December 2014
with Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent Office, in the chair.

After the Chairman’s report on the last meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, presented his activities report. The Council expressed its clear satisfaction.

The Council then exchanged information on strategic matters within the Organisation and on the social climate and addressed a particular issue concerning alleged misconduct by a Council appointee under Article 11 (3) EPC, reported separately on this website.

Further, the Council proceeded with a series of appointments and re-appointments to positions in the boards of appeal.

Later, the Council heard status reports on the Unitary patent and related developments as well as on substantive patent law harmonisation.

Lastly, the Council adopted a reform of the career system as well as the draft budget for 2015.

Council Secretariat

So basically Kongstad (one of the president’s cronies) keeps attacking the EPO’s staff. This is the sort of behaviour that even Stalin would be envious of. An activist site of EPO staff says that “EPO President Battistelli threatens the staff representatives – again!!!”

To quote the site’s framing of the latest developments: “Each Central Staff Committee (CSC) member has personally received a series of three highly threatening letters from the President, dated 4 December 2014. The members of the LSCs have also received the letter dealing with nominations to the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC). Within one week after receipt of the letters, 2 local members in Munich and 1 central member in The Hague have resigned. The staff representation has now lost 4 members 6 months only after the new elections under the “Social Democracy” framework. In this publication, the CSC responds to the threats of the President.”

Battistelli and his cronies need to be toppled before they managed to sack or drive out all of their opposition scaring the rest into silence and passivity. The crimes of Battistelli or his cronies will be the subject of future posts in Techrights. Battistelli’s tactics against his opposition are similar to how proponents of “War on Terror” handle dissent; if someone disagree, then just label that someone a threat and eliminate him/her to eradicate an uprise.

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